Archive for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

City Commission to formally hear debate on gender identity ordinance

September 6, 2011


After taking a back seat at City Hall for more than a year, commissioners are set to debate the issue of making it illegal to discriminate against people based on their gender identity.

In 2009, city commissioners first received a request to create an ordinance that provides protection to people who are transgendered, which includes everybody from cross-dressers to people who do not exclusively associate themselves with either the male or female gender.

But commissioners never have formally acted on the request. Mayor Aron Cromwell at the end of Tuesday’s meeting said he would like to formally hear the issue at the city’s Sept. 27 meeting.

If approved by the city, the new ordinance would make it illegal for landlords and employers to deny someone housing or a job based on their transgendered identity.

The city’s Human Relations Commission in 2010 did take up the issue and voted to recommend denial of the new ordinance.

Cromwell on Tuesday indicated he thinks the city should pass the ordinance.

“For me, this is about an issue of unfair treatment in a city that really prides itself on tolerance and acceptance of others,” Cromwell said.


sad_lawrencian 6 years, 7 months ago

Good to hear. This is a step in the right direction, if you ask me.

hunziker1 6 years, 7 months ago

wow of all the things the city needs to worry about right now this is what they r going to take up

coryweber 6 years, 7 months ago

“For me, this is about an issue of unfair treatment in a city that really prides itself on tolerance and acceptance of others,” Cromwell said.

People in Lawrence only tolerate and accept those who think or live the way they do. That is the biggest joke. I could care less about the rest of the article, or issue. There are far greater problems the commission should be spending it's time and resources on. I'm sure some "enlightened intellectual" (chuckle) will try to paint me as bigoted or ignorant or a redneck, it seems that's the only debate/discussion or coping skills they have.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"I'm sure some "enlightened intellectual" (chuckle) will try to paint me as bigoted or ignorant or a redneck,"

No need to-- you did that quite well all on your own.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 months ago

Now, is it pretty clear what we get for city commissioners when you think that city elections are not important???

This group of nit-wits has out-done itself in dealing with vacuous and flimsy issues, ignoring real probems, and generally taking public money for saleries and doing nothing to earn their money.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Yea, next thing you know they'll be trying to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Joseph Jarvis 6 years, 7 months ago

Great news. It's the right thing to do. As a bonus, decisions like this keep Lawrence competitive and attractive compared to places much farther ahead than us.

@hunziker1, @frwent: Equal participation in society for a minority community that faces discrimination isn't flimsy, vacuous or low priority.

Louis White 6 years, 7 months ago

Well intentioned but impractical. How is one ever going to prove that they were denied an occupancy lease based on gender identity?

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

The same argument could be made for all anti-discrimination laws.

But, it seems pretty clear to me - if one has good credit, and good references, but is denied tenancy,...

Joseph Jarvis 6 years, 7 months ago

@toe: Being African American, Jewish, a woman, or LGBT isn't the same as being fat, short, owning a pet, or having bad credit. We're talking about discrimination against historically persecuted minority communities.

Tony Kisner 6 years, 7 months ago

What about ugly people. We are victims of discrimination daily.

Joseph Jarvis 6 years, 7 months ago

@Liberal: The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover sexual orientation (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual) or gender identity (i.e., transgender).

States also have nondiscrimination laws. Many cover sexual orientation and 15 cover gender identity (including neighbors Colorado and Iowa). Kansas's law (the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination, aka KAAD) doesn't cover either. Thus it's perfectly legal to deny someone a job or housing or public accommodation in Kansas based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The state legislature's inaction has forced the issue to the local government level. Lawrence outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1995. That covers the LGB in LGBT. This would add gender identity to cover the T missing in the 1995 amendment.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

An interesting argument, fixing a non-existant problem. It's the same argument I've heard in this forum in regards to voter I.D. and the "problem" of people voting who should not be because they are not eligible. I'd be interesting in hearing from some of those who are opposed to the voter I.D. but are in favor of this ordinance. Is there an inconsistency that I'm missing? BTW - I'm in favor of this anti-discrimination measure.

ZoeB 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't have data about the number of people affected. How would you count them? You can't use court records, as discrimination vs Intersex and Trans people is perfectly legal. it doesn't go to court.

About 1 in 3000 people are Transsexual. About 1 in 500 Transgendered. About 1 in 1000 are so blatantly Intersex (born with a body neither wholly male nor female) that it's obvious from their appearance. 1 in 60 are Intersex, but if it takes a lab test to detect that, neither they nor anyone else may know. So we have a reasonable estimate +/- 50% of how many are affected.

What the effects are is detailed in the nationwide survey "injustice at every turn", covering over 6000 Trans people.

Respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with household income of less than $10,000.
Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace, and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression.
While discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, it was particularly pronounced for people of color. African-American transgender respondents fared far worse than all others in many areas studied.
Housing discrimination was also common. 19% reported being refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One in five respondents experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.
An astonishing 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to only 1.6% of the general population.
Discrimination in health care and poor health outcomes were frequently experienced by respondents. 19% reported being refused care due to bias against transgender or gender-nonconforming people, with this figure even higher for respondents of color.
Harassment by law enforcement was reported by 22% of respondents and nearly half were uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

So yes, this is a genuine problem, widespead, pervasive, affecting maybe 1 in 500-1000 people.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 7 months ago

New Restrooms planned for all public buildings. His, Hers, and It!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

lunacydetector 6 years, 7 months ago a man could use the girls public bathroom at langston hughes or any grade school and mayor cromwell likes the long as the man says he's gender confused.


JovianaRex 6 years, 7 months ago

 Seriously, this will allow that arrangement of allowing actual guys--- in "drag", to go into the restroom, because they look exactly like women, unless their tool box were exposed, and EVEN THEN, there MAY BE NO immediate problem.  Some individuals really DO just want to go to their own "identified gender" group public restroom, to relieve themselves, and they'll "act" just like whatever gender they percieve themselves as.....  I'll be practical, and say, "ok"  ---because it's better than having them trying to use another place, since they're too terrified to use the mens' room.  Seems to me if you have the gumption to possibly go through all the surgery that this kind of extreme makeover might require, a restroom wouldn't be such a challenge...but anyway, I digress:

Down the line, this also protects someone's "right" to use the female changing rooms at the public pool, and something WILL happen.
A lawyer got up at the last meeting, to speak against this issue, he had defended transexuals, crossdressers, etc., he was not criticizing the act, but classifying it for being a style (of life, perception or what-have-you) that can harbour some "not-so-nice" people, besides you multitudes of completely deserving folks whose "rights" are being so terribly violated...... This attorney pretty much outlined that the bottom line WILL be a lawsuit against Lawrence, when something DOES happen to a little girl in that dressing room. He was very succinct and matter of fact about the very, VERY large likelyhood that an incident WILL EVENTUALLY HAPPEN. And we will foot the bill on what the court will award to the victim.

JovianaRex 6 years, 7 months ago

Go ahead and point it out, given the disposal of THIS city, there cannot be more that ONE flaw in ANY sentence that I wrote about this issue. Especially if you are predisposed towards the left, which it sounds like you may be. Also, I did not outline FACTS, just possiblities.

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